Underwater Mortgage Levels Continue to Drop

Housing Patterns
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Of more than 49.3 million mortgaged properties in the United States at the end of the first quarter of 2014, there are 6.3 million where the mortgage amount is greater than the value of the property. These underwater or negative equity properties represent 12.7% of all mortgaged properties. It is an improvement from the 13.3% of underwater properties at the end of the fourth quarter of 2013.

The data was released Thursday by research firm CoreLogic.

The aggregate value of negative equity fell by $16.9 billion in the first quarter to a U.S. total of $383.7 billion.

Nearly a quarter of all mortgaged properties have positive equity below 20%, and 3.2% had less than 5% positive equity at the end of the first quarter.

CoreLogic’s CEO noted:

Prices continue to rise across most of the country and significantly fewer borrowers are underwater today compared to last year. An additional rise in home prices of 5%, which we are projecting will occur over the next 12 months, will lift another 1.2 million properties out of the negative equity trap.

The five metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of properties with negative equity are Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater, Fla. (29.5%), Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Ill. (22.4%), Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. (20.6%), Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga. (19.5%) and Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. (18.3%).

The five with the highest percentage in positive equity are Houston (97.0%), Dallas (96.2%), Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. (95.6%), Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore. (94.8%) and Seattle (93.7%).

The five states with the highest percentage of homes with positive equity are Texas (96.7%), Montana (96.3%), Alaska (95.7%), North Dakota (95.7%) and Hawaii (95.6%). The five states with the highest percentage of homes with negative equity are Nevada (9.4%), Florida (26.9%), Mississippi (20.1%), Arizona (20.1%) and Illinois (19.7%).

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